Investigations into Amravati and Udaipur ISIS-style killings by Islamists have thrown up a common link with accused having links with Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), a political front for the extremist Popular Front of India (PFI). The other factor that emerges out of the two investigations is poor appreciation and response of the Islamist threat to both victims pharmacist Umesh Kolhe and tailor Kanhiya Lal of Amravati and Udaipur police respectively.
While the National Investigating Agency (NIA) arrested Farhad Mohammed Sheikh aka Babla as the seventh accused in the hacking of Kanhiya Lal for supporting Nupur Sharma on Friday evening, it is quite evident that the Udaipur conspiracy was hatched after the June 20 rally against Nupur Sharma by the PFI.
Although the investigating and security agencies are tight-lipped about events after the June 20 rally in Udaipur, it has now been established that main accused Riyaz Attar, the one who crafted the butcher knives, had joined SDPI in 2019 and was an active member. Accused Babla has also confessed to his PFI-SDPI links in his interrogation.
According to security agencies, while the international links of both the Udaipur and Amravati accused will come out only after the CFSL sends a report based on the examination of seized electronic devices, the PFI-SDPI link is also coming out very clearly in the Amaravati murder with the investigators examining its evidence value in the legal case ahead.
Although the PFI-SDPI describe themselves as socio-political organizations, the group has a core of ex-SIMI cadres with Alhe-Hadith or Salafi ideology and has extremist leanings. The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) global terror is follower of Ahle-Hadith.
In the past decade, the once Kerala-Karnataka based group has tried to broad base its cadre by co-opting Sufi Barelvis and even their archrivals the Deobandis. The PFI launched an agitation against Citizenship Amendment Act in Tamil Nadu, SDPI supported agitating farmers against the now withdrawn farm laws. It has also supported TMC MP Mohua Moitra for her recent anti-Kali Goddess remarks.
Investigations by the counter-terror agencies have found that the Udaipur police refused to appreciate the threat to Kanhiya Lal despite the victim approaching them for help as early as June 17-18. It is learnt that after the June 20 rally, Kanhiya Lal was threatened every day by his killer Ghous Mohammed and his fellow Islamists. Similarly, the Amravati Police also tried to play down the savage crime as robbery despite arresting two of the accused soon after the murder. The arrests counter the Amravati Police Commissioner’s assertion that the case was “blind and sensitive.” The Maharashtra Police DGP Rajnish Seth chose to play by the bureaucratic book rather than help the NIA get custody of the murder accused.